• L Xu and M Bacina

Blockchain brings trust to commercial drones says US Department of Transportation

The US Department of Transportation has issued a report on the benefits of blockchain in addressing the challenges of tracking, enforcement of flight violations and managing interference vulnerabilities of drones, also known as unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).


The report highlights the growth of recreational and commercial drones by federal agencies, local governments and research agencies where the number of UAS is 4 times greater than manned aircrafts. However, issues with managing safety, traffic operations and data management are proving problematic for aviation authorities. The US Department of Transportation states that blockchain could be part of the solution combined with machine learning to provide UAS registration, accountability and tracking.


Regina Houston, Chief of Aviation Safety Management Systems Division at the US Department of Transportation states that:

Blockchain is poised to transform the way we think about and analyze safety data. This is particularly exciting for unmanned aerial vehicles. Blockchain can be part of the solution to collecting and sharing reliable data about drones.

Blockchain is already addressing UAS trust and integrity issues and projects by NASA, Boeing, Walmart, Google and IBM. For example, Boeing announced in 2018 that it was developing a traffic management system that would efficiently track all drones flying chosen traffic corridors and blend a standardised programming interface to uphold industrial inspection, package delivery, and other important commercial application.


Like the drones use case, we will start to see more companies and government agencies consider blockchain as a way of implementing effective regulation and monitoring in a trustworthy manner to address the regulatory issues.


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